Concerns and Fear of Esophageal Cancer in Relatives of Patients with Cancer: a Qualitative Study

  • Mohammad Ali Morowatisharifabad
  • Sakineh GeraylloEmail author
  • Leila Jouybari
  • Mohammad Kazem Amirbeigy
  • Hossein Fallahzadeh
Original Research



Due to its complications and mortality, cancer is a vital public health problem and one of the most frightening diseases, and its development causes a sense of risk, problems, and discomforts for all, including family of patients. The aim of this study was to elaborate on the concerns and fear of esophageal cancer in relatives with cancer illness.


Using a content analysis approach, this qualitative study was carried out in Golestan, North of Iran, in 2018. Participants were one of the family members of a patient with esophageal cancer who were selected purposefully. Data were collected using semi-structured and deep interviews and continued until data saturation was achieved. Twenty-three participants were interviewed. Interviews were transcribed line by line and were coded and categorized, and concepts were extracted accordance with qualitative content analysis approach, using MAXQDA 11 software.


Following data analysis on the concerns and fear of cancer among relatives of patients, the main themes “fear of social consequences,” “fear of treatment consequences,” “fear of psychological consequences,” “cancer phobia,” “concern about lack of information on the disease,” “fear of disease reactions,” and “fear of disease-related changes” were extracted.


Family of patients with esophageal cancer were afraid of disease-induced consequences and lack of knowledge about the disease. Through educating people about the symptoms of the disease, we can reduce their fears and empower them for self-caring and preventing cancer.


Qualitative study Esophageal cancer Fear Family Iran 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All participants provided written informed consent to participate in the study. Also all participants consented/assented to having de-identified quotes used in publication in the consent/assent form.

Ethics Approval

The project had ethical review and approval of Medical Sciences (ethical code: IR.SSU.SPH.REC.1396.125).


Qualitative study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Education & PromotionShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  2. 2.Department of Health Education & Promotion, School of HealthShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  3. 3.Nursing Research CenterGolestan University of Medical SciencesGorganIran
  4. 4.Department of GastroenterologyShahid Sadoghi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  5. 5.Department of Biostatistics, Research Center of Prevention & Epidemiology of Non-Communicable DiseaseShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran

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